The Community Kitchen
A significant acquisition for the new GLA supported Museum at the heart of the community, the Community Kitchen will enable local start-up or home-based food businesses with the opportunity many have been seeking to explore the potential for a sustainable business future in cooking and catering .
Small business who may currently lack resources, if not the imagination and commitment to succeed, will be able to utilise a kitchen providing rare access to industry standard equipment & professional support. Local kitchen supply specialists & other advisers are available – a former manager of Fish, and chefs from award-winning local restaurant The French Table – & will enable them to safely learn about cooking, kit and business practice, & help them research, test & launch their own culinary products and services.
Our recent community survey revealed locally produced food, independent business & nurturing talent are key drivers of people’s sense of community.
What we’ll do:
- draw on local business expertise to specify, source and install an industry standard kitchen in our Museum of Futures
- build a community of supportive professional advisers to help local small food businesses to learn and grow
- provide a programme of access to the Kitchen for a broad inclusive mix of businesses
- learn from the project to enhance services for the future
- signpost catering business opportunities in the area
Why it’s a great idea:
Food, hospitality &communal eating play a significant part in the character of the Surbiton community, much of which has resulted from the busy calendar of events our network of partners and volunteers have delivered over the past 6 years. Our programme of participatory engagement & merry-making has inspired numerous homeworkers and small businesses to launch, collaborate & grow. Our 3 year old Surbiton Food Festival alone has seen 11 new companies start trading all-year round.
Made in Surbiton, a collective of local makers & producers includes food producers keen to explore potential growth & the Freshwater Sardine Festival & King’s Soup events both feature communal cooking, as the local people gather, cook & feast in celebration of community foundations. The Community Kitchen would add considerably to the capacity and capability of the community to continue supporting such small business development & to cater for itself at communal gatherings celebrating local business.
How we’ll get it done:
- establish a small group of specialists and community representatives to mange the project
- use local expertise to brief and source suppliers
- install the equipment, launch the service for business and promote its use for community benefit
- Develop a migration strategy to enable small business start ups to ‘move onto’ new locations
Our recent local survey aimed to find out what local people felt about community, and make sure what we did had genuine benefit.
What mattered to people was a sense of shared goals. People wanted to connect, feel like and be recognised as part of something bigger and to make a difference by doing new things that broke ground and broke down barriers, inspired and supported local independent businesses to flourish and grow.
The Community Kitchen will provide such independent businesses and the wider community with new opportunities to learn and develop. Through workshops, skills exchanges, demonstrations, research, food industry advisory surgeries. Combined with the community’s already established engagement with food and festivities, the Community Kitchen has a key role in building a strong, engaged, creative and sustainable community for the future.
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” J.R.R. Tolkien